Sri Lanka Tourism Guide

 Sri Lanka – “The finest island of its size in all the world”– Marco Polo


Basic Facts of Country?


Official Name: Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
National Flag:

Sri-Lanka Flag Tourism

National Emblem of Sri Lanka:


Emblem of Sri_Lanka tourism


Buddhist (official) 70.2%

Hindu 12.6%

Muslim 9.7%

Roman Catholic 6.1%

other Christian 1.3%

other 0.05%


Sinhala (official and national language) 74%

Tamil (national language) 18%

English widely spoken

Capital: Colombo
Population: 22.3 million
Currency: Sri Lankan rupee (R/- or Rs.)
Internet domain: .lk
 International Dial Code of Sri Lanka:  +94
 Usual Working Hours:  Monday to Friday usually from: 9am-5pm
Weather: Tropical
Popular Sport: Cricket, Volleyball, Rugby Union
Entry Requirements/ Tourist Information:


Immigration Information:

Official Tourism Site:


Exchange Rate: Google Finance Converter
Sri Lanka Time Zone : UTC/GMT  UTC+05:30


Places of Interest?

Visit: 10 Best Tourist Attractions In Sri Lanka


Emergency Phone Numbers:

Emergency Services

      Telephone Number

Police Emergency Hotline 118 / 119
Ambulance / Fire & rescue 110
Accident Service-General Hospital-Colombo 011-2691111
Tourist Police 011-2421052
Police Emergency 011-2433333
Government Information Center 1919
Report Crimes 011-2691500
Emergency Police Mobile Squad 011-5717171
Fire & Ambulance Service 011-2422222


Cultural Expectations:

  • Try to keep kissing and affection on the low – Sri Lankan’s believe this should be done behind closed doors and not in public
  • Sri Lankan’s are very friendly and always smile. They are easy to approach and always happy to give directions. (Personal experience)
  • They like staring- looking at people is in their culture as it signifies honesty or curiosity – should not be taken as a threat (In western culture staring at someone is usually seen as either a threat or because you want to make love so don’t worry when in Sri Lanka).
  • In Sri Lanka, when someone shakes their head from side to side with a slight wiggle (kind of like a half yes and half no), it actually means “yes.”
  • When taking pictures in temples don’t have your back towards the Buddha statue as it is very disrespectful. Also, don’t take pictures of soldiers or military complexes because they will think you’re up to something sneaky (probably shouldn’t do this in any country).


Travelling in Sri Lanka:

  • Three Wheelers  (Tuk -Tuk) –  ideal for short trips
  • Train Service from City to City
  • Or, get a designated driver (Don’t use the buses unless you are familiar with your locations)


Three Wheelers in Sri Lanka tourism
Locals refer to it as the ‘Three Wheeler’


Where to stay:

Search for hotels in Sri Lanka: 


Potential Problems/Tips:

  • VISA extension is shocking and unorganized, so brace yourself if you want to say longer than 30 days.
  • Driving is a nightmare so better to get a tuk-tuk or a local designated driver
  • Heatstroke – stay hydrated
  •  When visiting temples, shoes have to be taken off.  Walking bare foot on the hot pavement can be very painful, so bring some thick socks (better write it on a piece of paper now so you don’t forget—lots of tourist forget that’s why!).
  • Get a tour guide when visiting the ancient monuments – this way you’ll appreciate it more
  • Carry antibacterial wipes for hygiene
  • Think twice before eating from small carts in rural areas because your stomach may not be strong enough
  • Carry multiple water bottles with you



 Sri Lanka’s electricity: 230–240V, 50 cycles A/C

Round, three-pin sockets is the most commonly used. Nothing to fear, because adapters are very cheap and widely available in Sri Lankan shops.

Sri Lanka tourism facts
Sri Lankan 3-pin Socket



You can get mobile phone coverage almost anywhere on the island except of course in national parks and very rural areas.

If you’re staying in Sri Lanka for a while, its probably cheaper buying a sim card from a mobile company in Sri Lanka (if your phone is unlocked). The cards are usually less than $10 and you will be given a new number and receive domestic rates Rs 15 per minute for international calls, and around Rs.5 for local calls.

The main operators: (if you see these symbols on shops- it means they sell them)

sri lanka tourism


sri lanka communication

sri lanka telecommunication


sri lanka telecommunication

You can buy and top up your sim card just about anywhere because the mobile phone business in Sri Lanka is very competitive. However its better to buy your SIM card in major towns. This is because they would have had experience dealing with tourists and understand what it is that you need from them (eg, local, international, etc).  Also note that there aren’t too many public phone booths in the country.



  • Coins come in denominations of Rs.1, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50.
Sri Lankan Coins
Sri Lankan Coins
  • Notes come in denominations of Rs.10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000 and 5000.
Sri Lanka Currency Notes
Sri Lankan Notes


Usually every major town has at least 3 or 4 of Sri Lanka’s major banks and at least 1 ATM. Banks are opened from (8 or 9 am) until (2 or 3 pm) and are closed on weekends. The best ATMs are from Commercial Bank (accepts both Visa and Mastercard) and are usually the most reliable.  Hatton is good as well.

The 6 main banks are:

  • Commercial Bank
  • The Bank of Ceylon
  • Hatton National Bank
  • Sampath Bank
  • People’s Bank
  • Seylan Bank